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The Lloyd’s List Podcast: Is shipping’s zero-carbon revolution on track?

A special report examining the progress that shipping has made towards decarbonisation and the blockers still preventing action

Shipping’s zero carbon transition has made progress, but in key areas, it is stalling. The magnitude of action and investment needs to be stepped up and, for that to happen, regulatory clarity and climate financing must be agreed. In this extended edition of the podcast, Maersk, Shell, CMB, Lloyd’s Register and the World Bank contribute insights to a special progress report on maritime decarbonisation


THE shipping industry can decarbonise. If the political stars align and the right demand signals can be emitted, even the most ambitious zero carbon scenarios are no longer limited by the technology. Or commercial readiness of zero-carbon fuels, or infrastructure or yards.

At least they are according to the slew of papers and studies being pumped out as the world’s governments sit down next week to consider the crucial question of just how quickly shipping can decarbonise.

The industry, however, remains uncertain and unconvinced.

There is still a massive gap between the rhetoric and reality in shipping.

Shipping is awash with zero-carbon commitments, coalitions, pilot projects, green corridors and studies, all charting the industry’s alignment to the 1.5°C temperature increase goal of the Paris Agreement.

But a fraction of them have actually committed solid science-based targets to action those promises.

Green corridors are currently a paper exercise and dual fuel capability is essentially a hedge bet on the part of owners.

A vessel theoretically capable of burning a sustainable fuel will not generate any value — environmental or commercial — from that capability until those fuels are produced in a genuinely sustainable form and become widely available, with an acceptable mechanism to bridge the inevitable cost differential against conventional fossil fuels.

And yet, that is not the whole picture. Because real progress is being made.

Shipping tonne-miles have increased 40% in the past 15 years and yet total CO2 emissions from shipping have decreased 14% over the same period.

In all other transport sectors, the opposite has happened.

Even without access to sustainable fuels, a carbon price or anything approaching regulatory clarity, the shipping industry has quietly pulled off a minor miracle of efficiency.

So, as the governments of the International Maritime Organization sit down to map out how shipping realistically decarbonises itself between now and 2050, we are bringing you a special progress report in this extended edition of the podcast, looking at how the industry is changing and where the key blockers to shipping’s zero carbon future remain.

Featuring insights from shipowners, but also the likes of Shell, the World Bank and class societies, the podcast this week considers the progress achieved, but also the blockers still preventing action.

Joining Lloyd’s List Editor-in-Chief Richard Meade for this special progress report on shipping’s zero carbon revolution are:


  • Andy McKeran, chief commercial officer at Lloyd’s Register

  • Simon Bergulf, head of energy transition and operations at Maersk

  • Alexander Saverys, chief executive of CMB

  • Dr Alexandra Ebbinghaus, general manager decarbonisation at Shell Marine

  • Isabelle Rojon and Rico Salgmann, transport specialists at the World Bank









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